Okay, asking to be paid is never an easy task. You’re going to want to make sure you remind your boss positively and politely, and you’re going to need to know how to do that. Luckily, this article is here to help you understand what you need to do.
1. Review The Terms
The first step is a simple one. We would recommend this step for anybody who is going through a dispute with their business right now. Reviewing your employment terms should always be your number one priority.
You need to know what rules you have to follow before you ask for your paycheck. There should be plenty of ways to find out your company’s policy on payments.
Most contracts are labeled in ways that make them easy to navigate. You should be able to find your way to the payment terms quickly, and you can learn whether or not your contract is being breached if your company currently owes you money.
If they are going against the rules, it might be good to gently highlight this (when we get to the email part). You don’t want to sound malicious when you do this, though. It’s best to remain polite and friendly throughout.
2. Find Out Who Handles Pay
Before contacting anybody, it would help to learn who is your best bet. While it might be easy to think your boss handles payment, this isn’t always the case. Many companies have their own accountants or finance people that handle payments for employees.
It’s simple enough to find out who’s in charge of this. If you’d like to, you could always email someone in the company that you can trust:
- Dear Michael,
- How are you doing? I don’t suppose you know who to contact about our paychecks, do you?
- I have a few things I’d like to ask about.
- All the best,
This way, you’ll better understand who will get you the results you need.
If you contacted your boss, but they weren’t in charge of your paycheck, then things might not get resolved. They might still owe you money because the message never got through to the appropriate employee.
3. Consider Why You Need Pay
At this stage, you should consider why you need the pay. If you’re asking for early payment, you’ll want to come up with a good reason for it. Of course, if your payment is late, then this is already a good reason to ask for the money.
You are always owed your money, and it can be frustrated if you have yet to receive it. Even if you know your company or boss is deliberately holding it back from you, it’s still best to remain calm when it comes to messaging them about it.
If you do need early pay for whatever reason (a paycheck advance), then you’ll want to create a compelling argument first. Let your boss know why you need your money, and they might be more inclined to agree if they can sympathize.
4. Think Your Message Through
Now, we’re onto the most important part.
Before sending any messages about this topic, you need to think it through. Make sure you have the best email lined up and ready to go before hitting send.
This part is crucial because it will determine how successful you will be when getting your payment. If you come across as hostile, you might be rejected. If you don’t push hard enough, you might be ignored.
You’ve got to find a happy medium. Sending an email about missing or forgotten pay is always difficult. Here’s what we recommend.
Start With A Friendly Message
As with any professional email, it’s always best to start with a friendly message or question. Simple things like “I hope all is well” or “how are you?” go a long way when you’re emailing your boss.
You don’t have to nicely remind them to pay you yet. Just focus on a good opener, like this:
- Dear sir,
- I hope all is well.
- Dear Mr. Hopkins,
- How are you doing?
- Dear Mrs. Annabella,
- I hear things are going well for you!
Anything that’s swift and polite is what you’re looking for here.
Focus On The Main Point
Next, get to the main body of the email. You don’t want to oversell it. You need it to be snappy and get right to the point. The fewer words you use, the better off you’re going to be.
Many people get caught overexplaining when they send formal emails. They get stuck in the formality of it all, and they end up sending something that doesn’t make much sense.
It’s best to get right to the point while remaining professional. Something like this will work:
- I am writing to you to find out about last month’s paycheck. Do you have any updates about when I will receive this?
- I am just writing to find out when I will get my month’s pay? I’ve been waiting for seven days now.
- I thought I’d contact you to let you know that I’ve yet to receive my money for last month’s hours. Could you please help me with this?
Anything that directly explains the problem is going to work well here. You don’t want to overwhelm the recipient with information.
Closing your email is always going to be important. It will leave your boss with a good (or bad) impression of you. You want to give them a reason to reply to you without sounding like you’re too angry about the issue.
- I look forward to hearing from you,
- Please let me know when you’ve found a solution to this problem,
- I’m eagerly awaiting your response,
5. Contact Them
It’s time to put everything you prepared from the previous section into practice! Don’t overthink it now that you’ve got to this point. You should already have a polite message thought out. Get it sent to your boss (or whoever pays you).
As a quick side note, this should always be done via email. Do not send your boss a text message, as this will lead them to ignore you. Text messages will make it seem like you aren’t all that worried about your missing paycheck.
So, let’s go over a few examples that put together all the points from the previous section:
- Dear Mr. Harrington,
- I hope all is well. I’ve heard that you’ve been kept quite busy with the new staff members lately.
- I am just writing to find out when I might get my payment for the month of March. I’m still waiting for it today.
- I look forward to hearing back from you,
- Dear Mrs. Smarts,
- How are you? I would love to catch up with you again sometime this week.
- I thought I’d contact you to ask about last month’s paychecks. I have not received mine yet and wondered if you knew about this.
- Please let me know once you’ve received this email,
- Kind regards,
6. Find Supporting Materials
If you’re seriously worried about not receiving your pay, this next section is for you.
Sometimes, your company might be withholding your salary or paycheck for no good reason. It might be at this stage that you’re going to need to find supporting materials to back up your claim that you need money.
While it’s not encouraged if you’re only asking for the first time, we recommend you do this when you need to show that you haven’t been paid.
Attach documents related to your pay agreement (in your contract). You can also attach previous paychecks showing the normal dates you get paid.
You might want to word an email like this:
- Dear sir,
- I have still yet to be paid for last month’s work, and I was wondering if you needed any of the attached materials to help you.
- I’ve attached my pay terms to show you that I’m well within my right to be asking for this.
- All the best,
7. Reminder Emails
The next step is reminder emails. You can send these no matter how many previous emails you’ve sent or how long you’ve been waiting.
The only thing you need to make sure you do is word these correctly. You want to be polite enough to remind them while being stern enough to let them know you will not stand for it.
You are always owed your money when working. If someone is deliberately withholding it from you, then it makes sense that that might make you a little angry.
- Dear Mrs. Barister,
- I am just following up to ask whether you received my previous email asking about pay.
- Please let me know when you’ve received this,
8. Consider Other Options
This point is the last resort. It only applies if you know your company or boss is deliberately avoiding paying you. There are always other options (mostly legal choices) you can make that should be able to convince your boss to pay you.
You won’t want to go down this path until you’re certain you will not receive your pay any other way. You have to be careful with this one, though.
If you use it too soon in the communications, you might burn the bridges between you and your company.
Always follow the previous steps before you have to resort to this one!
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.